People have to watch out for themselves and exercise caution in everyday circumstances, a judge has told a woman while dismissing her €60,000 damages claim against Dublin Bus at the Dublin Circuit Civil Court.
The woman, Elvyra Gaizauskiene (67), a retired cleaner, of St Mochta’s Lawn, Clonsilla, Dublin 15, had told the court through an interpreter that on July 3rd, 2014, she and her friend entered a bus at a stop on Hartstown Road, Dublin. She was helping her friend on with luggage and intended leaving the bus again while it remained at the stop.
She said that as she was leaving the bus its disability ramp began to move, causing her to lose her footing and trip and fall from the bus to the ground. She injured her head and broke her right arm in the incident.
Dublin Bus solicitor Gerard O’Herlihy, in a full defence to the action, claimed Ms Gaizauskiene had failed to watch where she was going and had not noticed that the ramp was in operation as she left the bus.
He told the court she had failed to pay any attention to the warning noises and had failed to wait so as to allow a passenger in a wheelchair to board in safety. He claimed she had also failed to tell the bus driver it was not her intention to travel.
Judge Sinéad Ní Chúlacháin said it was accepted by all that Ms Gaizauskiene had undoubtedly suffered nasty injuries when she fell while exiting the bus.
Ms Justice Ní Chúlacháin told Mr O’Herlihy there had been a language difficulty. Ms Gaizauskiene spoke only Russian, and a verbal warning of the movement of the ramp had been delivered in English. The judge said movement of the ramp took only two seconds and was accompanied by the sound of a one-second klaxon.
Ms Justice Ní Chúlacháin said she accepted all of the witnesses involved in the case had been honest and that any discrepancies in evidence were understandable given the language barrier.
She accepted Ms Gaizauskiene had been in a hurry to get off the bus.
“There is a duty on people to watch out for themselves and exercise caution in everyday circumstances and, whether because she was rushing to get off or otherwise, Ms Gaizauskiene did not properly observe the ramp,” Ms Justice Ní Chúlacháin said.
Awarding Dublin Bus its costs against Ms Gaizauskiene, the judge said the onus was on the claimant to prove negligence and she had to dismiss her claim.